During a pandemic, what is a workshop-based, interaction-focused school to do?
The Center for Learning (CTL) in Edgecomb has long prided itself on being a school that relies on authentic instruction, connection, and collaboration between students and teachers through face-to-face mentoring in the classroom. CTL students use technology when needed, but the school makes an effort to keep screen time low and to de-emphasize computer use in school. Third grade students learn basic keyboarding and computer skills to facilitate writing, drafting, and editing. Middle school students reach beyond their immediate world by learning to conduct scientific, historical, and geopolitical research on the internet, but their exposure to social media is considerably less than some of their peers.
The recent Covid-19 pandemic has upended everything. In the days following school closures, CTL quickly pivoted to remote learning as a way to bring the community together and move academic explorations forward. Suddenly, technology was at the center of how we connect.
After two weeks of online work, CTL issued a survey to its families asking about their online experiences. Most of the respondents report being satisfied with the scheduling of classes and the amount of work their students are being asked to perform. Those who didn’t wanted less, not more! Remote learning has given students a chance to connect with their classmates, teachers, and academic work each day.
Each weekday morning before the start of online classes, CTL hosts a school-wide online version of our “Morning Meeting.” This new online version of Morning Meeting features spontaneous dancing, Lego-building, cereal munching, and occasional guest appearances by puppies, salamanders, and baby livestock. Students (with the help of their parents) and teachers are joining together online to continue teaching and learning at CTL.
The following sampling of recent survey responses from parents provides heartening confirmation that students are engaged and supported during this challenging time:
“It feels like class routines and connections are moving forward.”
“I love seeing how we can use the technology and still maintain that CTL feeling. I love seeing everyone at morning meeting and I know my student is appreciating staying connected to his classmates online everyday.”
“[Remote learning] has seemed to be an effective way to get the children to stay in touch and be a part of the CTL community during this difficult time. Thank you.”
“…we are so grateful to how beautifully the CTL team has switched over to remote learning.”
Founded in 1990, the Center for Teaching and Learning is a nationally recognized K-8 independent school in Edgecomb, dedicated to authentic, rigorous and joyful teaching across the curriculum. Please contact Katy Inman, Head of School, firstname.lastname@example.org, to find out more about the school. Openings exist in several grades for fall 2020-21.